All Whites midfielder Joe Bell has apologised to fans at Norwegian club Viking after his surprise return.
The club has confirmed his transfer from Danish club Brøndby, prompting Bell (24) to post a message to Viking supporters on the club’s website, explaining his sudden departure on the January 31 transfer deadline day last year.
Bell has signed a deal that keeps him contracted to Viking till 2027.
Main photo: Joe Bell back at Norwegian club Viking. Photo credit: Viking/photographer Alexander Larsen.
“I understand that some supporters were disappointed and frustrated by the way I left, and that they may still be.
“I will apologize for that. Of course, if I could go back in time, I would do things differently. That’s part of the learning I’ve had.
“I will put in extra hard work to show what it means to me to return to Viking. The way I perform in training and in matches will hopefully have a positive effect, but I’m not going to ask for forgiveness.
“My actions will speak louder than what I say in the media. I will do everything I can to regain their trust.”
Reports suggested Viking would pay three instalments of EU300,000 — a total equivalent to NZ$1.65 million — in a transfer fee to Brønby.
“The stay in Denmark did not turn out as I had thought or hoped, and it is wonderful to return to the environment I had,” Bell said.
“It’s fantastic to be back. I really feel like I’m coming back to my family and my friends. It was a very easy decision. I’m just looking forward to getting back on the pitch and contributing. I am incredibly excited and will put in the hard work.”
Sport manager Erik Nevland said:
“We are very happy that Joe is back and know what we are getting in him. He is helping to strengthen our stable, and the fact that he has signed such a long contract means that we have a long-term perspective on it.
“He is a very football-savvy player, who is good in duels, is good with the ball and makes his team-mates better.
“We know what he delivered in 2021, and he has not deteriorated from being in Brøndby.”
Bell’s next appearances for the All Whites are expected to be in October and November, when New Zealand meet Australia and Ireland in friendly internationals.
Game to be played on Wednesday October 18, 2023 (NZT)
New Zealand v Australia
Venue/time to be announced, London
Game to be played on Wednesday November 22, 2023 (NZT)
Ireland v New Zealand
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, 8.45am (NZT)